The German II bobsleigh team led through all three runs to win its second straight Olympic gold medal Saturday in the abbreviated four-man competition in Nagano, central Japan.
Pilot Christoph Langen, who won his second Olympic bronze medal in the two-man event last Sunday, added a gold to his collection as he steered his sled to amass a total of 2 minutes, 39.41 seconds to claim an overwhelming 0.60-second victory.
Germany II, which held a slight advantage of 0.07 second after Friday's lone round, clocked Saturday's fastest time of 52.90 seconds in the day's first run to widen the lead to 0.68 and cruised to victory despite only the eighth best record in the final round.
The second run scheduled for Friday at the Spiral bobsleigh and luge track in northern Nagano was canceled due to rain.
A German four-man squad won both the gold and bronze medals at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics and took silver in the Albertville Games two years earlier.
Marcel Rohner of Switzerland I took the silver medal with a combined time of 2:40.01.
France I posted a time of 53.63 seconds -- the best time of the final run -- to leap from sixth place into a bronze medal finish along with Britain I after the two teams finished with identical aggregate times of 2:40.06.
Japan I and II took 15th and 16th places and fell short of the country's best Olympic finish of 12th place. (Kyodo News)
Final results of four-man bobsleigh Saturday in the 18th Olympic Winter Games at Spiral, Nagano (course 1,360 meters, vertical drop 113 meters. There were only three runs instead of four, as one run was rained out Friday):
1. Germany-2 (Christoph Langen, Markus Zimmermann, Marco Jakobs, Olaf Hampel) 2 minutes, 39.41 seconds (first run 52.70, second run 52.90, final run 53.81)
2. Switzerland-1 (Marcel Rohner, Markus Nuessli, Markus Wasser, Beat Seitz) 2:40.01 (53.13, 53.15, 53.73)
3. Britain-1 (Sean Olsson, Dean Ward, Courtney Rumbolt, Paul Attwood) 2:40.06 (52.77, 53.58, 53.71)
3. France-1 (Bruno Mingeon, Emmanuel Hostache, Eric le Chanony, Max Robert) 2:40.06 (53.13, 53.30, 53.63)
5. United States-1 (Brian Shimer, Nathan Minton, Randy Jones, Garreth Hines) 2:40.08 (52.93, 53.42, 53.73)
6. Latvia-1 (Sandis Prusis, Egils Bojars, Janis Ozols, Janis Elsins) 2:40.26 (52.98, 53.50, 53.78)
7. Switzerland-2 (Christian Reich, Steve Anderhub, Thomas Handschin, Cedric Grand) 2:40.28 (52.88, 53.47, 53.93)
8. Germany-1 (Harald Czudaj, Torsten Voss, Steffen Goermer, Alexander Szelig) 2:40.32 (53.12, 53.50, 53.70)
9. Canada-1 (Pierre Lueders, Ricardo Greenidge, Jack Pyc, David MacEachern) 2:40.39 (53.14, 53.44, 53.81)
9. Austria-1 (Hubert Schoesser, Peter Leismuller, Erwin Arnold, Martin Schuetzenauer) 2:40.39 (53.10, 53.50, 53.79)
15. Japan-1 (Naomi Takewaki, Hiroaki Ohishi, Takashi Ohori, Masanori Inoue) 2:41.55 (53.73, 53.87, 53.95)
16. Japan-2 (Toshio Wakita, Yasuo Nakamura, Toshiya Onoda, Shinji Aoto) 2:41.96 (54.02, 53.66, 54.28)
26. Taiwan-1 (Sun Kuang-ming, Duh Maw-sheng, Chang Mau-san, Cheng Jin-shan) 2:45.95 (55.30, 55.13, 55.52)
(February 21, 1998)